Each student who is admitted to the Department of English PhD program currently receives a six-year fellowship which requires the fulfillment of 3-5 quarter-long teaching obligations (depending on the type of teaching) within the first five years of the fellowship. We ensure that graduate students have enough teaching experience to be strong candidates on the academic job market while also making sure that students do not have excessive teaching loads so that they can concentrate on their dissertation research. Students typically teach in their third, fourth, and fifth years of the PhD program.
Types of Teaching Opportunities in the Department of English Curriculum
Course assistantships in faculty-taught departmental courses provide graduate students the opportunity to become an integral part of undergraduate instruction while acquiring pedagogical, collegial, and other professional experience. The course assistant gains experience in the planning and conducting of a course and receives guidance and ongoing faculty supervision as they lead classes and discussions sections, hold office hours, and grade papers.
Freestanding Lecture Courses
At the University of Chicago, advanced PhD students have the opportunity to design their own undergraduate courses for the departmental curriculum. In addition to lectureship opportunities that are part of regular departmental curricula, the Humanities Collegiate Division sponsors five Stuart Tave Teaching Fellowships for freestanding courses designed by graduate students. The Department has successfully nominated students to the Humanities Collegiate Division for these awards in recent years.
BA preceptors guide approximately 12 students through the year-long process of undertaking a BA project that culminates in a lengthy piece of critical work. Preceptors for these writing projects meet with students on a regular basis both individually and in small groups throughout the year and also read and evaluate all written drafts.
The University of Chicago, with the help of the Institute for the International Education of Students (IES), operates a one-quarter study-abroad program in London for junior and senior undergraduates in the College. The course and program assistant (CPA) for the London Program helps to ensure the smooth functioning of this program. The CPA acts as a liaison between the students, faculty, and administrators; organizes social events; and is available to undergraduates with problems or concerns. As a course assistant, the CPA works with the three University of Chicago faculty members, attending classes and holding office hours. The CPA also teaches a stand-alone course at the end of the quarter, usually of his or her own design.
Extradepartmental Teaching Opportunities
Advanced graduate students from all disciplines in the Humanities Division can apply to work as preceptors in the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities MAPH. Preceptors’ responsibilities include academic and professional advising; weekly discussion groups and grading in connection with the required MAPH Core Course in fall quarter; thesis writing workshops during the winter and spring quarters; and participating in a range of social and other program events.
Writing Program/Common Core
The Writing Program at the University of Chicago hires graduate students as writing interns for the University of Chicago's famous Common Core first-year college program, as undergraduate writing tutors and as lectors in the University Writing Program. Writing interns provide writing instruction in one of the yearlong humanities Common Core courses taken by all college freshman at Chicago. For these courses, interns attend the classes and do the readings, lead a sequence of writing seminars that teach advanced academic writing, and help the faculty member mark and grade papers.
The Chicago Center for Teaching on campus offers a number of excellent programs throughout the year on particular topics (e.g., leading classroom discussions, preparing syllabi, grading, etc.) For those who are interested, the Center also offers a Teaching Certificate, which can be useful when students are applying for teaching jobs.